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winedoc

Creating a Cooking Reference Library at Home

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I've had it for years, but I still refer to it occasionally -- Shirley Corriher's "Cooking." I also like Mark Bittman's "How To Cook Everything," because it gives you a basic recipe/technique for, well, everything, and suggestions on how to wing it from there. 

 

Food Lovers Companion is one I go to frequently when I have a question about a time, a temp, or an ingredient substitution.

 

Rose Levy Berenbaum's Bread Bible, which I loaned out and need to retrieve, is possibly my favorite bread book.

 

Several others I go to for specific regions/cuisines -- Paula Wolfert, Dorie Greenspan, Fuchsia Dunlop, Diana Kennedy, Yottam Ottolenghi, Marcella Hazan are some favorites. 

 

Michael Ruhlman for technique and method on most anything. Kenji Lopez-Alt's "The Food Lab." Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipes.

 

And the Marion United Methodist Church's "Favorite Recipes," which is the best 10 bucks I ever spent on a cookbook.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking.  Flavor Bible by Page and Dornenburg.  2x the Ruhlman.  I like the Lucky Peach books I have.  Eating Animals by Jonathon Safer-Foer.  Michael Moss Salt Sugar Fat.  Modernist Cuisine.  Home version.  

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I have the Mark Bittman book but I don't care for the recipes.  They all end up in my need to be modified file.

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I like Bittman just for times and temps and general recipe flow. I agree that most need work.

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Food Lab, Good Eats Season 1 and 2 (no snickering!), Mastering the Art of French Cooking 1 and 2, Hazen's Essential Italian Cooking, and if you want to impress your friends (but rarely use) Larousse's Gastronomique (makes for a great doorstop).

 

If you want to get serious, Modernist Cuisine.

 

If you want easy-to-make dinner that are foolproof, anything by Ina Garten.

 

If you are into baking, any and all books by Rose Beranbaum. I also love Peter Reinhart's books for bread making. 

 

Another great reference that sticks to basics is American Test Kitchen and Cook's Country.


"Winners never quit, and quitters never win. But those who never quit and never win are just idiots"

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Those are all good suggestions. McGee is my own touchstone. I probably crack my Larousse a bit more than Smokeydoke does, but yeah...it's a great doorstop, and I've also used it overnight to apply weight to furniture I've recently glued (my "compact" OED works pretty well for that, as well). If you want to have classic French cuisine at your fingertips but in a more pocket-friendly format, the "Repertoire de la Cuisine" is a good choice. It gives you a terse description ("like x, but with quenelles of fish") and it's then up to you to either know it or Google it from there. 

I'd maybe suggest Pepin for technique, if you want basic knife skills etc in dead-tree form rather than a YouTube video. 

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"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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I agree, Pepin is much more user-friendly and I just love it. I love him. He makes it seem so simple.

 

I do read LaRousse every now and then as a reference. It's a great book. I'd never part with it.


"Winners never quit, and quitters never win. But those who never quit and never win are just idiots"

My Instagram Account on Food Photography

My eGullet food blog

FYI: I have my pings turned off. I hate that thing.

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